Post 70 hosts classic

Published 10:51 pm Thursday, June 14, 2018

After a late start to the season, the American Legion Post 70 19U baseball team looks to gain momentum starting with this weekend’s Fathers Day Classic.

Post 70 has played just three games so far this summer. They went 1-2 in last weekend’s Mark Smartt Baseball Tournament at Riddle-Pace Field.

“It means a lot for us to play anyone right now,” said coach Rush Hixon. “We got a late start due to the team at the university making a regional. When you have a new team of players that have never played with each other, playing games is the only way to get better. This is a huge weekend for us to get five or six games under our belt.”

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Post 70 dropped their first two games of last weekend’s tournament before pulling out the win in the final game.

“We have started slow before,” Hixon said. “We did win our last game we played so we are on a one-game winning streak. I hope to carry that over into the weekend.”

Post 70 has had to replace a few key pieces from last year’s pitching staff and Hixon believes the team will have to rely on its offense early on to be successful.

“I think we have six or seven left handed hitters,” Hixon said.  “That is something that is good to pack into a lineup. We have a good variety of guys. Pitching, we are replacing some key guys from last year. We haven’t necessarily found the guys on the mound yet.”

Post 70 will have some familiar faces on this year’s squad. Former Charles Henderson Trojan and current player at Faulkner University Graham Wilkes will be joined by Pike Liberal Arts standouts Reed Jinright, Wood Jinright and Nathan Renfroe who are fresh of a state championship.

“We will lean on (Wilkes) to have a senior leadership type deal,” Hixon said. “We need him to lead by example and be vocal. Pike is coming off a state championship. They should have some momentum themselves and know what it takes to get it done. Hopefully, they will carry it over to this team.”

Post 70 only returns a handful of players from last year’s team.

“Most of these guys are new to each other,” Hixon said. “Once we get going and we get used to each other, I think we will have a successful summer. With the group we having come back, all of them were contributors last year.”

The tournament will start at 10 a.m. today with the Cardinal Blues taking on the Wiregrass Indians. Post 70 will begin at 12:30 p.m. against Post 70’s 17U team in Ozark. They will play at Riddle-Pace Field beginning at 8 p.m. against the North Florida Black Sox.